Introduction to the Rehabilitation & Development Research Program

This research program includes all translational research addressing optimization of mobility and physical performance of disabling disorders affecting the locomotor functions and brain, including children and adults. These are the typical rehabilitation target populations, including intensive care unit and diabetic foot disease populations.


The research program Rehabilitation & Development aims to optimize physical performance of individuals, including children, with musculoskeletal injuries and neurological disorders and chronic diseases affecting movement abilities. Movement is sub-served by our musculoskeletal system, which relies on the neural, endocrine, immune, respiratory, and the cardiovascular systems that control and support it. The interactions of these systems are studied to reveal how physical performance can be maintained. The consequences of these disorders become apparent at the three WHO-ICF levels of functioning: impairments in function of body structures (tissues and organs), limitations in functional activities, and restrictions in participation in society. Translational research comprises all these three levels and their interrelationships to understand and improve movement, mobility and physical performance in the context of personal and environmental factors.

Interventions cover, amongst others, surgery, pharmacological interventions, cognitive and motor learning and training strategies, assistive devices and (care giver) support. Precision diagnostics of movement impairments, based on etiology, will be developed to personalize therapies that restore, adapt, or support the neuro-musculoskeletal system to optimize the restoration, development and preservation of movement abilities and physical performance.

The research addresses

  1. The biological mechanisms underlying declines in physical performance and the effect of interventions preventing/reducing these declines;
  2. Diagnosis and prediction of declines in physical performance and the underlying impairments;
  3. Efficacy and (cost-)effectiveness of interventions to prevent/reduce declines in physical performance.


Rehabilitation addresses pathologies that affect the musculoskeletal and central and/or peripheral nervous system, resulting in movement impairments, associated disability at Function, Activities and Participation levels. The focus lies on stroke, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders/Parkinson’s Disease, neuromuscular diseases, hospital-acquired disorders, and diabetic foot disease.

Development addresses the normal motor and musculoskeletal development of children during growth into adulthood and the development of children with disorders. The focus lies on cerebral palsy, premature born infants, scoliosis, and connective tissue disorders.

Program Leaders

  • Dr. Sicco Bus, Amsterdam UMC, location AMC (Program director);
  • Dr. Erwin van Wegen, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc (Program deputy director);

Program Board (provisional)

Program Members

  • All AMS researchers that work in, or have affinity with the field of rehabilitation and development.